Acquisition Reform: DOD Should Streamline Its Decision-Making Process for Weapon Systems to Reduce Inefficiencies
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The acquisition programs GAO surveyed spent, on average, over 2 years completing numerous information requirements for their most recent milestone decision, yet acquisition officials considered only about half of the requirements as high value. The requirements, in total, averaged 5,600 staff days to document.
The Department of Defense’s (DOD) review process is a key factor that influences the time needed to complete information requirements. The process in some instances can include up to 56 organizations at 8 levels and accounts for about half of the time needed to complete information requirements. Most program managers felt that these reviews added high value to only 10 percent of the documents.
DOD’s F-16 aircraft program, some classified programs, and five commercial firms GAO visited use streamlined processes with fewer documents and reviews and offer alternatives to the traditional DOD process. Establishing an efficient process for documentation and oversight is a key internal control to avoid wasteful spending.
The challenge is to find the right balance between effective oversight and the competing demands on programs. DOD, however, has not yet identified ways to achieve the right balance by minimizing the time spent on information requirements and reviews that contribute to its inefficient milestone decision process.